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Is There a Third Way?
Essays on the Changing Direction of Socialist Thought
By Michael Novak et al.
Institute of Economic Affairs
$15.95 Paper Original
Tony Blair's victory in the 1997 General Election was really the victory of Margaret Thatcher's ideas, according to Michael Novak. The Iron Lady taught Blair the importance of growth and weaned Labour away from redistributionism and the Nanny State.
Novak argues that the advocates of social democracy in the West have been put on the defensive by the collapse of communism. We now know that the dramatic costs of the socialist experiment in Eastern Europe must be measured in the loss of human capital, including the work ethic, but in the West the refom of the welfare state is becoming urgent for the same reason. Its costs cannot be measured in terms of government expenditure alone: they must include the loss of human capital which results from welfare dependency. Therefore, as well as tackling the financial crisis of the welfare state, we need to address the spiritual crisis which threatens our civilization. 'A free society is primarily a moral achievement.'
Three distinguished commentators take issue with Novak's analysis. Anthony Giddens, Director of the London School of Economics, John Lloyd, Associate Editor of the New Statesman and Paul Ormerod, Chairman of Post Orthodox Economics, all ask whether socialism, or social democracy, can survive in an increasingly competetive global environment. This book concludes with a response from Novak to his critics, making this a valuable guide to the important contemporary debate about the supposed emergence of a Third Way, somewhere between socialism and the market.
Series: Choice in Welfare